Eurozone unemployment rate drops to near eight-year low

The eurozone’s unemployment rate has continued to fall, dropping to a near eight-year low in February.

Figures from the Eurostat agency showed the jobless rate fell from 9.6% in January to 9.5% – the lowest since May 2009.

The lowest unemployment rates were in the Czech Republic (3.4%) and Germany (3.9%), while the highest were in Greece (23.1%) and Spain (18%).

France, the second-biggest economy in the eurozone, was stuck at 10%.

At the height of the financial crisis, unemployment in the eurozone peaked at 12.1%.

Separate survey data suggested strong growth among eurozone manufacturers.

IHS Markit’s final manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the eurozone rose to 56.2 in March, from 55.4 in February. Any reading above 50 shows growth.

However, Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said high demand was bringing problems.

“Eurozone manufacturing is clearly enjoying a sweet spell as we move into spring, but it is also suffering growing pains in the form of supply delays and rising costs,” he said.

“The survey is also signalling the highest incidence of supplier delivery delays for nearly six years, underscoring how suppliers are struggling to meet surging demand.”

On Friday, official figures showed inflation slowed by more than expected in March.

Prices in the eurozone were 1.5% higher than a year ago, down sharply on the 2% rate seen in February.


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Dean Popplewell

Dean Popplewell

Vice-President of Market Analysis at MarketPulse
Dean Popplewell has nearly two decades of experience trading currencies and fixed income instruments. He has a deep understanding of market fundamentals and the impact of global events on capital markets. He is respected among professional traders for his skilled analysis and career history as global head of trading for firms such as Scotia Capital and BMO Nesbitt Burns. Since joining OANDA in 2006, Dean has played an instrumental role in driving awareness of the forex market as an emerging asset class for retail investors, as well as providing expert counsel to a number of internal teams on how to best serve clients and industry stakeholders.
Dean Popplewell